Winter Haven - Chain of Lakes Park

Fieldhouse & Conference Center

City of Winter Haven
2018 - 2019
In Progress
87,000 SF


This project is considered the “Phase 1” of the Chain of Lakes Park Master Plan (adopted in May of 2017) which outlines a comprehensive redesign and long-term redevelopment of this 69+ acre site owned by the City of Winter Haven. In December of 2017, the City engaged a team of consultants lead by Straughn Trout Architects to begin the renovation of the landmark (Southwest Recreation) Complex facility and design its iconic expansion known as the Fieldhouse and Conference Center (WHFCC). With a prime location along U.S. Route 17 and Cypress Gardens Boulevard, it will distinguish a primary gateway to the city and operate as a major regional destination and catalyst for continued public and private development.

The new WHFCC’s design is centered around a new 58,400 square foot multi-use gymnasium space with second-floor observation area to suitable for large sports competitions (basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, cheerleading, etc.) and other similar convention related regional events, gatherings and banquets. Facility attributes that will support these functions include smaller team meeting rooms and classrooms for coaches, officials & event organizers, training and locker rooms, laundry, and storage spaces. A double-height entry concourse space provides a central information and control desk as well as connections to a concessions window, a new public fitness/exercise area, new recreational offices, shared restroom facilities, and renovated portions of the existing Complex facility. Additionally, a new vehicle drop-off drive on the west side serves as a complimentary new entry to a new two-story stair and elevator lobby and box office space. This area will improve accessibility to upper levels, including a new connection corridor to the theater lobby in the existing Complex building.

conceptual renderings


site plans:  existing -> Phase 1 -> Future phases


As part of the development agreement, a financial partnership was established with Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing (a.k.a. “Visit Central Florida”). This partnership facilitated an agreement with the Lakeland Magic organization to utilize the facility as their team’s basketball training center/practice facility. The building includes dedicated office space for the Magic and design flexibility for maximum shared-use of locker, training, and classroom with the City.

schematic floor plans

associated renovations to the existing complex

The existing Complex building will receive strategic upgrades associated with the new WHFCC development. The existing small gymnasium space and adjacent recreational offices will be modified to provide an alternative back-of-house access for the theater and also create an expanded set construction area and space for a future black box theater. Additionally, a new lifeguard space will be carved out for the existing outdoor pools. After a thorough review of the existing Complex building’s antiquated mechanical and electrical systems and detailed life-cycle cost analysis, the renovations to the existing building will also include LED lighting upgrades and a complete HVAC re-design for improved temperature control, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency. The new system will utilize geothermal heat pump technology to not only heat and cool the entire facility (existing and new areas), but also heat and cool the existing Olympic-size lap pool and diving well.